No more than 1 wife: Israel looks to tackle Bedouin polygamy

Around 20 to 30 percent of Bedouin men practice polygamy, according to government figures. (File/AFP)
Updated 09 January 2019
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No more than 1 wife: Israel looks to tackle Bedouin polygamy

  • For the first time, suspected Bedouin polygamists are being prosecuted
  • Many Bedouins see only a ploy to curb their population growth

LAKIYA: Israel has begun cracking down on polygamy among the country’s Bedouins, after decades of turning a blind eye to the old custom that remains widespread in the community.
For the first time, suspected Bedouin polygamists are being prosecuted.
But many Bedouins, who complain of systematic neglect and discrimination by successive Israeli governments, see only a ploy to curb their population growth and criminalize their community members.
Israeli Justice Ministry’s Emi Palmor, who spearheads the campaign, says she’s determined to enforce the law but is trying to do so with input from the community. She said she has spent two years researching the issue.
Around 20 to 30 percent of Bedouin men practice polygamy, according to government figures, with the rate climbing as high as 60 percent in some villages.


Adoptive mom arrested for alleged abuse of child YouTube stars

This recent undated photo released by the Pinal County Detention Center on March 21, 2019 shows Machelle Hackney after being arrested. (AFP)
Updated 25 March 2019
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Adoptive mom arrested for alleged abuse of child YouTube stars

  • One alleged that “her mother would spray her and her siblings with pepper spray all over their face and body,” while another “stated they would go days without food, water,” the document said

WASHINGTON: YouTube has removed a channel that featured children playing with toy guns and whistling after police arrested their adoptive mother for allegedly starving them, locking them in closets and pepper-spraying them.
The “Fantastic Adventures” channel had more than 700,000 followers and 240 million views.
The seven adopted children told investigators of “having to participate” in the YouTube shows, a court document says.
“They stated they are disciplined in the manners above if they do not recall their lines or do not participate as they are directed to,” says the document filed in Pinal County, Arizona.
“They further stated this is one of the reasons their mom took them out of school so they can keep filming their series and they mentioned they have not been in school for years.”
The youngsters were aged between six and 15.
One alleged that “her mother would spray her and her siblings with pepper spray all over their face and body,” while another “stated they would go days without food, water,” the document said.
They were also “locked in the closet for days at a time” and two said they were sprayed or pinched in the genitals, it added.
Officers from Maricopa, outside Phoenix, said the children “appeared to be malnourished.”
Arrested last week, Machelle Hackney, 47, — known as Machelle Hobson on her channel — was charged with seven counts of child abuse, two counts of child molestation, five counts of unlawful imprisonment and seven counts of child neglect.
Police told AFP on Thursday that she remains in custody after a Tuesday hearing, but her two biological sons, also arrested, were released. Ryan Hackney and Logan Hackney, both 27, are charged with seven counts of failing to report abuse.
The adopted children also appeared in superhero costumes on the channel, which YouTube took down on Wednesday.